Protesters to rally in Athens against austerity
Farmers who have been blocking road junctions for three weeks in protest at the government’s ongoing austerity program are to converge in Athens tomorrow for a demonstration. Talks between government officials and unionists at the end of last week failed to yield a compromise, prompting unionists to threaten further action. Agriculture Minister Vangelis Apostolou described last week’s discussion as “productive,” noting however that “fiscal measures cannot be changed.” Vangelis Boutas, a senior member of the national committee coordinating the farmers’ protests, struck a different tone. “Nothing positive whatsoever emerged from the discussion,” he remarked. He called on “all Greeks” to join a protest by farmers in central Athens tomorrow and said road blockades across the country would continue. Meanwhile, the civil servants’ union ADEDY called for a work stoppage between 12.30 p.m. and the end of the shift tomorrow so that public sector workers can join the farmers’ rally in Athens on the same day. It was not clear what impact the action would have on state services.